AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 14

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The AccountingWEB Newswire - Issue 14
October 22, 1999
http://www.accountingweb.com

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In the headlines this week:
1. Beware - The Melissa Virus Is Still Lurking
2. The Future of CPE Is About To Change
3. It's Time To Dust Off and Brush Up on the "De Minimis" Rule
4. Technology Planning Tips For The Firm
5. Robert Elliott Takes Over As Chair of AICPA
6. Cost Cutting Tip: Reduce Hotel Phone Charges
7. Clients Are Seeking Business Coaches: Do You Fit The Bill?
8. If You Do QuickBooks Consulting, Read This
9. Top Earners To Pay More Social Security Tax In 2000
10. Internet Site: Need To Know The Time?

Editor's Note
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WORKSHOP REMINDER: If you would like to brush up on some great marketing and technical tips on helping your clients to better understand their financial statements, join us online this Tuesday October 26 at 4:00pm EST in the AccountingWEB Workshop room with Cindy Moorhead of Moorhead Management Systems. Bring your ideas and your questions!
http://www.accountingweb.com/workshop/

Michael T. Platt
Editor-in-Chief
mplatt@accountingweb.com


1. Beware - The Melissa Virus Is Still Lurking
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If you receive an email that mentions "My Pictures" in the subject line, and you don't recognize the sender, DON'T OPEN IT! The Melissa Virus, well publicized last March when it hit computer systems around the world, has mutated into several strains, but is still alive and well, eating up critical system files and replicating itself to others in your address book. Experts suggest that if you haven't updated your anti-virus software in the last ten days, you could be vulnerable. You should download the latest virus files from the vendor who supplied your current anti-virus software to protect your system from Melissa.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7533&d=101


2. The Future of CPE Is About To Change
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At its annual meeting this week, the AICPA announced bold new initiatives involving changes it intends to make which will capitalize on the technologies associated with the Internet. One massive change will be the shift away from paper based self-study programs to Web based programs. This initiative will result in a restructure of the Institute's $10 million CPE business, and will make available over 1000 CPE hours of material to AICPA members for an all-you-can-use rate of approximately $95 per year per member. Additionally, the Institute will be working in cooperation with the state societies to offer many of its group study products at a substantially discounted rate. The Institute is searching for corporate partners, sponsors and investors to help deliver the capital needed to rebuild the AICPA into a leading edge, web-ready member services organization.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7663&d=101


3. Technology Planning Tips For The Firm
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AccountingWEB caught up this week with Roman Kepczyk, President of InfoTech Partners North America, a technology consulting firm that specializes in working with CPA firms, to discuss ideas and strategies for technology planning for CPA firms. Highlights included: (1) Brand loyalty makes good economic sense -- sticking to one brand of computer and having all stations work off the same operating system can reduce IT costs by over 25%; (2) Reducing technology costs should not be done by "thinning" projects or the quality of technologies implemented; (3) ongoing IT investment should be budgeted at about 6-7% annually of firm revenues. For more ideas and a full transcript, see:
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7644&d=101


4. It's Time To Dust Off and Brush Up on the "De Minimis" Rule
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Your clients may be buying bonds at below par value this year, and they will face some tax questions relating to the "de minimis rule" that you will need to be able to answer. The IRS rule on a capital gains threshold only rears its head when bond prices have fallen significantly, and most CPAs probably haven't even thought of it since 1994. But after looking at this year's bond market, it may be time to familiarize yourself with the rule for the upcoming tax season. The IRS says that when you buy a bond and hold it to maturity, if your capital gain isn't too great then you only have to pay the tax at the prevailing capital gains tax rate. But if your gain exceeds a threshold, you pay the tax at your regular marginal tax rate, which is higher for just about any investor. The threshold is 0.25 percentage points this year. Make sure you know the rules . . .
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7380&d=101

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5. Robert Elliott Takes Over As Chair of AICPA
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Congratulations to Robert Elliott, partner with KPMG in New York, as he takes over as Chair of the American Institute of CPAs this week. Mr. Elliott was the principal force behind the new AICPA-led assurance services including CPA WebTrust and CPA ElderCare, and is the chief architect of the XFRML financial reporting language project being undertaken by the AICPA and industry leaders. "Information technology is causing the convergence of computing, communications and content," he said in his inaugural speech at the AICPA's Fall Council meeting in Seattle. "In the future, the winners and losers among our clients and employers will be determined principally by their different capacities to
create and use knowledge. Our challenge - and our opportunity - is to be the principal agents by which this is accomplished."
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7581&d=101


6. Cost Cutting Tip: Reduce Hotel Phone Charges
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If you need to make several long distance calls when you get to your hotel, simply push the # key after each long distance call to disconnect. This keeps the hotel from charging you a connect fee for each long distance call. For more tips for busy professionals, see our story at:http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7449&d=101

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7. Clients Are Seeking Business Coaches: Do You Fit The Bill?
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The International Coach Federation reports that over 10,000 professional "success" coaches are operating worldwide helping entrepreneurs achieve their personal and business goals. Many clients pay these coaches $400 per month for 30-minute long weekly telephone sessions to get them focused. Coaches don't come with all the answers, but they do have a process for guiding their clients to the right answer, from developing a business plan to helping plan time away from the office. Clients are looking for someone to listen and encourage them through their daily lives. Hmmmmm, sounds to me like a pretty good niche service to add for your clients . . .
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7618&d=101


8. If You Do QuickBooks Consulting, Read This
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Has Intuit found the Holy Grail of e-commerce? Some analysts think so, as Intuit announced this week a revolutionary partnership program that will sell products and services to small business customers directly through QuickBooks software, bypassing online shopping portals and the Web altogether. $68.5 million in partnership deals are already in place for Intuit, who will launch the service later this year with the release of QuickBooks 2000. Is it legit? Yes. Will it work? Probably. Services to be sold will include credit card processing, electronic stamps, direct mail packages, and Internet backup. The services will be integrated with the software so users will be offered the services as they perform the related tasks.
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?ap=1&id=7641


9. Top Earners To Pay More Social Security Tax In 2000
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Two hundred twenty three dollars and twenty cents. A night on the town? A midnight flight to Las Vegas? No, that's how much your tax bill will be going up next year if you are a highly paid wage earner. The increased tax comes from a $3600 increase in the wage base on which taxpayers must pay FICA taxes or $76,200, up from 72,600 in 1999. The basepercentage rate will stay the same. Visit the AccountingWEB PressZone for information on this and other stories from CCH:
http://www.accountingweb.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=7602


10. Internet Site: Need To Know The Time?
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If you need to know EXACTLY what time it is, or, like me, you just need to check to ensure that you're not running late to your next appointment, bookmark http://www.time.govwith your time zone and get an accurate reading of the official time to within .5 seconds. Why would you ever need that kind of accuracy? I have no idea, but it's a neat thing to know it's there . . .

If you know of an Internet tip, or a technology tip that others can benefit from, you are encouraged to send it in to us at editor@accountingweb.com.

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